Super eight impress for City

Katy Watts
Katy Watts
Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun: Nicolas Boorne, Sophie Hurlo, Kat Powell and Jane Blatch-Gainey. Picture Ian Hargreaves (180198-1)

Gallery: Lee-on-the-Solent parkrun super show

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City of Portsmouth scooped fourth in the BAL Super Eight Cup Final at the weekend.

An understrength side travelled to the tournament in Derby.

Irish Sirmons, Katy Watts, Claire Netley, Charlie Carter, Carol Dawkins, Amber Perry, Sam Vaile and Mandy Gault were the only athletes available.

But they put in a brilliant performance against the odds, finishing in the top four – just three points off third.

Coach Dave Churcher was extremely proud of the resilience shown by his depleted squad.

‘It was a real team effort,’ he said.

‘Everyone got on with it, and there were some very good performances.

‘If we had had a couple more specialist athletes for specialist events, then we probably could have come away with it.’

With only eight athletes, some had to undertake events they were not used to.

Churcher added: ‘Each athlete was restricted to only two events, which meant we couldn’t move them around too much,’ he said.

‘We had our discus thrower, Irish Sirmons, on the high jump!

‘And Katy Watts, who competes in the javelin, had to run in the 800m.

‘It was a real old-fashioned performance.’

Having had a whole host of injuries and unavailabilities beforehand, it was touch and go to whether City would even be able to get a side together.

And, even though Churcher himself admits they weren’t too hopeful ahead of the competition, the squad went on to exceed all expectations.

‘We went with an under-strength team, compared to what we’d normally travel with,’ he added.

‘And we also went there with the knowledge that we’d give it a go and see how it went.

‘The ladies worked their socks off, and gave a very good account of themselves.

‘They really were eight super athletes.’